Home > Everything Else > Ode to the DMV

Ode to the DMV

Let me start off by saying how much I despise renewing my driver’s license and vehicle tags.  I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, so raise your hand if you hate it as much as I do.  (Okay, you can put your hands down now.  You look like a fool.)  I submit to you, then, a poem to document my experience and lamentations.

Ode to the DMV

How long are your lines!, oh DMV,

How many minutes? 20, 30, 40?

So many people walk up without the right papers,

No brain between the ears; only taters.

On your website, you listed the required documents,

“Bring them in,” you said, and I brought them with competence.

Punished for others’ lack of common sense,

They shall reap vengeance for this grave offense.

They’re given a paper to cut back in line,

I’m sure they’ll wait until the busiest time.

No one before me, front of the pack,

I feel the icy air as the cutter creeps back.

“I have my papers,” he says to the clerks,

Then elbows his way in like the biggest of jerks.

Five more minutes spent waiting on this buffoon,

If I only had a dart, I’d pop him like a balloon.

He’s finishing now, ready to take his feet from these floors,

My blood runs cold as another cutter clears the doors.

Green paper in hand, crossed eyes stare me down (halfway),

Should this lady even be driving? as she clears a pathway.

Scared to ever get back upon the road, anxiety within is all I feel.

With these knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing quadrupeds behind the wheel.

Finally, another line has opened for me,

Prepared, I finish business and quickly break free,

Ode to the DMV.

That was my experience today in a nutshell.  I still have a few observations for you, though.  Anyone who has ever stood in line at the DMV will know what I’m talking about.  Those who have yet to enjoy this experience should print this out, put it in a time capsule, bury it in your yard, take it back out in 5 years, and read it again . . . but this time, with feeling.

As you read in “Ode”, no one ever brings everything they need for their vehicle renewal.  It’s very simple!  On the city’s website (which I had the sense of mind to check), I needed:

–Renewal notice

–Inspection slip

–Past 2 years’ personal property tax records

–Current insurance card

–Money (more than is reasonable)

–2+ hours of my life

I’ll skip all the drama at the car inspection place (involving semi-trained technicians who like to tell people their “inspection guy” had gone to lunch, even though he was right there) and go straight to the good stuff.

When I arrived at the DMV with my paperwork in tow, I did so with the realization that I would be spending a good chunk of my life between those ugly seatbelt-like line separators.  I realized I should have packed a snack, beverage, sleeping bag, and two hearty sherpas.  There were about twelve people between me and a desk full of DMV clerks who were moving slower than . . . well, there’s nothing slower than a DMV employee.  There’s no joke here, so don’t bother looking.  I knew I was in trouble when I noticed the twelve in front of me had a collective tooth count of 16.  That includes the elderly and rednecks.

I’m only 24 years old, but I’ve been to the DMV enough to realize that I need to have the right paperwork.  Apparently, there are people 40 or 50 years of age who still get a surprise every time they go to get new tags for their car.  It’s not like these standards change.  It blows my mind to think there are people who don’t think to look at what they had to bring last time.  I understand that it’s been 2 years since you’ve been to renew your tags, but for goodness’ sake, at least CALL to find out what you need.

In my city, if you are too dense to bring all the proper paperwork, the clerk will give you a green piece of paper that lists your deficient documents.  Unfortunately, this piece of paper also allows you to walk up to the front of the line when you return with the papers you’re lacking.  To me, this encourages idiocy in its highest form.  In order to encourage having the proper paperwork the first time, I submit to the City that it changes its line policies.  For example, if you forget your insurance card, you should be allowed to run home and get it.  Upon your return, you should be required to stand in the Driver’s License line, the Boat License line, and then you may stand in the vehicle license line.  I promise you that you will never forget your insurance card again.  You’ll probably even shower with it.

I’m not kidding, about half the people going up to the counter would shortly turn around and walk away carrying a green piece of paper.  How hard is this, honestly?  I’ve had a time where I’ve had to get the dreaded green paper and return later, but I was 18 and not 48, like these people who wander off only to emerge later and ruin everyone else’s line experience.  It’s like those jerks at Six Flags with the “Flash Pass”, who get to ride “The Pukinator” before you, just because they paid an extra $50 a ticket to do so.  In retrospect, I had no business being in line for ANYTHING called “The Pukinator” (whether it’s an amusement park ride or 1-Star restaurant), but I still feel slighted.

After seeing some of the people in line (who I could not believe are aloud to drive around other human beings), I am hesitant to ever get in my car again.  Probably 1/3 of the people renewing their tags appeared to have some kind of learning disability.  Now, I do not take learning disabilities lightly, because disabilities are not funny.  (The only possible exception being wheelchair basketball; they never dribble . . . that is SO “traveling”!  Call it, ref!  Are you blind?  Oh wait, yes you are.  You win again, Special Olympics.)  These people yammered like you would not believe.  I’m a nice guy; I try to make small talk.  But it’s like trying to have a light conversation with a Vietnam vet.  (That is to say, a man from Vietnam who cares for animals.  Not to go too far off-topic, but did you know veterinarians can prescribe anti-depressants for animals?)  He never really could stick to one topic, like a guy with severe Tourette’s and ADD.  Here’s a brief sample of my conversation:

Me: Almost to the front of the line, eh?

Vet: Yeah . . . I just need to get new tags.  The guy who sold me this car two years ago didn’t tell me that the brakes were going to have to be repaired.

Me: Boy, that’s super.  Sure are a lot of people with green papers.

Vet: My car is green.  I used to work at a car wash, back when it only cost a nickel to wash AND wax it.  Course, the wax we used back then was pure beeswax.  “Gimme a wash and some honey,” you’d say.  We all knew you wanted that beeswax . . .

And so on.  I’ve never faked getting an incoming call before, but when put into those tough spots, I’ll do anything.

During my time at the DMV, about 6 people came out of nowhere to the front of the line, and were treated to preferential treatment.  Just when I was going to be next, a lady walked in off the street with green paper in hand to swoop in and steal my clerk!  How can there not be any reward for people who actually acted responsibly enough to get it right the first time?  At least corporal punishment.  Let’s say, I get to punch that person in the stomach on his or her way out the door.  That way, they still get in before me, but I’ll still feel vindicated.  It’s for my country.  If you ask me, it’s downright patriotic.

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  1. Josh (#1 Fan)
    March 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    All of this was so true. I’m 18 and I even got everything right when I had to renew my license! My dad went with me for new tags, so that was kinda cheating, but we didn’t forget anything then either. And what is it with rednecks always being at the DMV? I honestly didn’t even know there were that many in Blue Springs!

    Awesome poem by the way!

  2. Jesse Weedman
    March 16, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    I actually just registered my vehicle last month and as I was walking up to the line a man came out of nowhere with a green paper acting like he was in a great hurry. I’m from illinois and we do not use the whole “green paper” system. If you have to leave you have to wait in line when you return. Anyways, the clerk told the guy to go back to the end and let me go first 😀 ….He was super ticked and I just laughed. NOW I know what that green paper means though!!!! P.S. Wheelchair basketball and special olympics comments……best ever!!!!!!! Devote a WHOLE blog to it!!!!!1

    • kylebaxter
      March 16, 2009 at 11:10 pm

      I think they change color of paper every day, so people don’t bring in yesterday’s paper to cut in line today. For instance, someone who wanted an exemption today said they might not be back today. The clerk explained in no uncertain terms that the paper was only good for TODAY. Maybe that’s what happened to the guy at the DMV. Maybe they say yesterday’s paper and made him start all over again. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen pink and yellow papers, too. Must be a daily switch.

      As for devoting a whole post to making light of people with disabilities, I’ll have to pass, haha. Some people might be offended. Small doses are the key. I don’t feel I overstepped my boundaries by cutting in a brief parenthetical statement. It was comedic gold, though. I actually went back and added that after I finished everything else. I almost didn’t put it in, for fear of offending. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. March 16, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I think that perhaps Democrats run your state. In Texas, I got to the DMV, took a number and sat down on a comfortable couch. When my number was called I showed them my insurance certificate and the expiration notification. Then I showed them a check. All in all, it took about 8 minutes. It’s good to live in Texas.

    • kylebaxter
      March 16, 2009 at 11:21 pm

      Brett, I think the number system is best for Texas. In a state where guns are given away as toys in Happy Meals, it’s not good for people to be cutting in front of one another, lest a good old fashioned shootout occur. haha

  4. Kar Kar #2
    March 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    I actually had a quite pleasant experience at the DMV just this past Friday. In fact, I was stoked to go! I finally got to get my “real” adult driver’s license… without huge block red letters “UNDER 18 UNTIL MARCH 22, 2006″… The ladies were super helpful and the picture lady took a FABULOUS picture of me and was so friendly and complimentary. In fact, I even had to leave (because unknown to me, the government is so behind the times they don’t accept credit/debit cards). They didn’t give me any kind of paper, but she told me to just come right up to her when I got back.
    Moral of the story: NEBRASKA is the best. Missouri must have terrible DMV’s, but I’m fortunate enough to live in Missouri but still be a legal resident of Nebraska, haleluja!

    • kylebaxter
      March 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm

      Yeah, but how backed up can it be in a state with 1,500 residents? ha! I kid! Yeah, I remembered to bring my checkbook this time, thank God. I don’t want to be “That Guy” who remembers to bring everything he needs except money.

  5. Michelle Thomassen
    March 17, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Wisconsin has a great system where you take a number and they call it. Thanks, though, for reminding me of one reason why I’m not looking forward to being back in Missouri (Mostly I’m excited). I remember the mind-numbing, life-sucking experience of trying to get anything done with my car in Springfield, MO.

    Maybe you could stand in front of the DMV and sell fake papers. Then when ppl try to cut in line, it doesn’t work. Kind of like the year some upperclassmen handed out free “chapel skip” papers to the freshman at Bible College. I always wondered what happened – did anyone try to use them?

  6. James Koppang
    March 17, 2009 at 11:22 am

    One thing missing in this conversation on the DMV. Maybe it is just me but they are very consistent in one thing… Nobody has really pointed out the one experience that is universal at all DMVs not matter what state. What is it?? The ABSOLUTE lack of any kind of customer service. They actually hire people who were laid off for being rude customer service reps. The ruder you are at the DMV the faster you are promoted. Think about when is the last time you were greeted with even a slight smile. Kyle very surprised you missed this very important aspect of the whole DMV conversation. As your President I feel inclined to let you know when I think you are starting to slip even the slightest.

    Very funny keep it up… Yes I waited until lunch very hard but I made. Because of my addiction please post closer to noon!

    • kylebaxter
      March 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

      El Presidente James-You are correct about the lack of any service amongst DMV “employees”. I touched on it briefly with my mentioning of their lack of speed in rendering services, but I wanted to focus namely on the vagabonds lingering in the DMV line. I will not disappoint you again, Mr. President. I’m glad you were able to hold off. I am proud to have voted for you, and not the other guy (Walter Mondale).

  7. Mark Squires
    March 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Further unrefutable proof that stupid people are breeding at an ever alarming rate. And we obviously let these people VOTE!

    Maybe we should give illegal aliens a green piece of paper when they are caught the first time…

    • kylebaxter
      March 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm

      Mark-Yes, so when they come back, they will have to (according to my new plan) have to stand in the Driver’s License line, the Boat License Line, and then the Border. It will discourage further illegal activity. That is, of course, if they hate standing in lines as much as I do.

  8. C
    November 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    …okay…cheating at BIBLE college? seriously? I didn’t expect that one…

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